CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.
CHICAGO – In the deluge of images that pierce our cerebral cortex on a daily basis, it’s refreshing to go back to the days when images had more influence, sought through publications or word of mouth. Artist Ralph Steadman was a mover and shaker – along with his writing partner Hunter S. Thompson – in the age-old notion that the pen can be mightier than the sword.
CHICAGO – You may not know the name Ralph Steadman, but you most certainly have run into his cartoon art. The surrealist was a partner with Hunter S. Thompson, illustrating books like “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” and is a subject of a new documentary entitled “For No Good Reason,” directed by Charlie Paul.
CHICAGO – “Brazil” is more than a movie. The story behind the film’s tumultuous production and release became nearly as essential to its history and arguably more so than the film itself. The special feature on the new Criterion release, “The Battle of Brazil” is a fascinating examination of expectation, ego, and commerce vs. art that all movie fans must see. And, of course, the movie is an undeniable sci-fi masterpiece.
CHICAGO – The small but mighty Verne Troyer is a lucky and humble star. He grew in Michigan, and maintains his Midwestern roots in his approach to show business. Troyer makes an appearance at the Hollywood Palms (Naperville, Ill.) and the Hollywood Blvd. Cinema (Woodridge) to introduce “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” and “Goldmember.”
CHICAGO – Sci-fi film buffs in the Windy City are invited to attend an April marathon bursting with cinematic gems. “Sci-Fi Spectacular 6” kicks off at noon Saturday, April 28, at the Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave. It showcases over 14 hours of beloved features, shorts and rare trailers as they were originally intended to be experienced—on the big screen.
CHICAGO – Is “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” still as popular as it was when I was in college? For years there, “Holy Grail” and “Meaning of Life” were on constant rotation in dorm rooms around the country. Now you’ll have to pester the guy on your floor who has a Blu-ray player since the Monty Python gang have finally hit HD in all their hysterical glory. Packed with bonus features, this is one of the best comedy Blu-rays of the year to date.
CHICAGO – I have a love-hate relationship with Terry Gilliam’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” but it’s a lot easier to fall on the former side of that dynamic with the simply amazing Criterion Collection release of the Johnny Depp & Benicio Del Toro drug epic, recently released on Blu-ray. With a stunning transfer enhanced by some of the best special features of the year to date, this is the kind of Blu-ray release that makes the actual movie better.
CHICAGO – Oscar-nominated for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design, Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” is a great fit for Blu-ray as the luster of 1080p enhances the best thing about the movie. Highly touted as “Heath Ledger’s final film,” history is likely to remember the film as more of a return to form for the director of classics like “Brazil” and “The Fisher King”.
CHICAGO – Bogart, James Dean and Heath Ledger are not dead, they’re just stuck in the Netflix queue. And Ledger, with a little help from some friends, gets one more theatrical release in “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.”
CHICAGO – “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassas,” the long anticipated final film of Heath Ledger, directed by Terry Gilliam, was previewed last night at the Chicago International Film Festival at their “surprise’ screening.